Sonar checks WWII shipwreck for leaking oil

Posted by Christine, August 21, 2010

Experts hope to use sonar images of a sunken ship off California’s coast to determine whether the vessel is at risk of leaking oil. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) sent a robotic submersible down to the wreck of the SS Montebello last week in an effort to assess the condition of the ship. The Montebello was torpedoed by an Imperial Japanese submarine during World War II seven miles off the coast near Cambria. The vessel sits on the seafloor at a depth of approximately 900 feet, presumably with its tanks full of Santa Maria crude oil.

MBARI's mapping AUV is prepared for launch from the research vessel Zephyr by Senior Research Specialist Dave Caress. Image credit: Duane Thompson © 2005 MBARI

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